[JURIST] Over 10,000 protesters, most of them African-American, marched in front of the US Department of Justice [official website] building Friday to highlight what they claim are inadequate efforts to prosecute a spate of recent race-related crimes across the country. A focal point of the march was the prosecution of six black teenagers in Jena, Louisiana [DN backgrounder] for beating a white teen in December 2006 after white students hung nooses from a tree where black students congregated. No white students have been prosecuted in connection with the incident.
The Justice Department responded that it is actively investigating incidents of noose hangings. New Attorney General Michael Muskasey [DOJ profile] said in a statement [text]:
The Justice Department shares with those who demonstrate today their objective of bringing to justice those who commit criminal acts of hate; it shares their vision of eradicating hate in our society. At the same time, the Department must follow the law and the principles of federal prosecution in every case it investigates and prosecutes. Although there are limitations and challenges in bringing successful hate crimes prosecutions, the Department takes each case seriously, and is prepared to vindicate the rights of the victims when prosecution is warranted by the facts and by federal law.Reuters has more.